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Sixty-five Years of Friendship

by AgeConcernShropshire

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Archive List > British Army

Contributed by 
People in story: 
Harold Clarke, Reg Wickstead
Location of story: 
El Alamein, Italy
Background to story: 
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
01 November 2005

This story was submitted to the People's War site by Pam Vincent of Age Concern Shropshire Telford & Wrekin on behalf of the late Harold Clarke and has been added to the site with the permission of his son, G Clarke who fully understands the site's terms and conditions.

I was in Italy with the 8th Army when the war in Europe ended. I was called up in 1940 when I was 20. The Commanding Officer suddenly appeared and declared the war was over and we would soon be returning home. Hats went flying in the air and there was handshaking all round. I was one of the first to come home as it happened, because I had a month’s leave coming up in the July. I had gone overseas when I was 22 and I hadn’t seen my wife for 3 years and 8 months. We had been married on my embarkation leave. I went to the Middle East first and was at El Alamein before going to Italy.

That home-coming was a very special reunion. However that month at home after 4 long years away was only to be a respite. I had to return to Italy for another 8 months “tidying up” the war before finally being demobbed. Then it was back to my work as a moulder at the Sinclair factory. Although daily life fell back into the usual mundane routine I was only too pleased to get back to what was a normal life.

I had met Reg Wickstead on the day we were called up and 65 years on we have continued to meet for a drink every Friday night at the British Legion Club. We joined up together and stuck together. We were in different regiments but always kept in touch.

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